The hopes that the country will have a free and fair election in 2023 general elections have been dashed by our senators. Section 52(3) of amended Electoral Act 2021 to provide for the electronic transmission of election results from polling units was killed by APC senators after rowdy session in the senate.
In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan introduced the card reader machine which was part of technology drive to check multiple voting and detect election fraud and ensure free and fair election, APC which was desperated to clinch power commended the bold initiative. It is a fact that APC was the beneficiary of the card reader machine in 2015 general elections. The victories recorded by the party across the country could be credited to the technologically innovation.
Little wonder, many Nigerians expected President Muhammadu Buhari to maintain the momentum in 2019 by passing Send 52(3) of the Electoral Act into law to pave the way for electronic transmission of results.
However, President Buhari who failed to convince Nigerians on why he could not assent the bill, cited short of time as the reason ahead of 2019 general elections.
Also, lack of political will by our lawmakers to unanimously agree and take a common position for the prompt passing of the bill is unfortunate, to say the least.
While other African countries have since embraced technology and reformed their electorate process in tandem with best global practice, some unpatriotic senators are dragging us to medieval period.
By its name, the Independent National Electorate Commission (INEC) should act independently according to the law establishing it. For senate to insist that INEC should collaborate with Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) on the possibility of adequate network coverage in the country and seek its approval before it adopts electronic transmission of results raises serious suspicionon.
The million naira questions begging for answers are: why did majority of APC senators vote against electronic transmission of results? Are they acting the script of their party to frustrate any genuine effort to have credible and acceptable poll in 2023? It is either the ruling party plans to rig the 2023 election or is jittery that the transmission of results electronically will expose it to defeat.
Civil society organisations and Nigerians should reject this glaring rape of our democracy. Democracy thrives on the basis of free and fair elections. This can only be achieved if INEC is allowed to conduct credible elections and transmit the results electronically as obtained in other democratic climes.
Lawal Adamu Usman (Mr LA), Kaduna